2023 Tactical Product Of The Year: Springfield Hellion
Bullpups tend to be fairly polarizing, but the practice of placing a firearm’s action behind its trigger group provides some undeniable tactical benefits, and Springfield Armory’s Hellion is one of the most capable and user-friendly designs employing this configuration to come onto the American commercial market in a while.
American Rifleman Field Editor Jeremiah Knupp was one of the first to get hands-on with the bullpup Hellion, and along with his disassembly and configuration video for AmericanRifleman.org, he mentioned “One of the biggest design challenges of a bullpup layout is accommodating both right and left-handed shooters. The Hellion has one of the simplest designs on the market to do this.” Knupp further mentioned “The Hellion can be disassembled by removing a series of push pins. Even the fire-control unit can be removed in one piece for inspection and cleaning.”
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Concurrent with producing the “First Look” video, Knupp subjected the Springfield Armory Hellion to a battery of tests, a protocol laid out by American Rifleman for print and online review. As outlined by Knupp in “Springfield Hellion: A Bullpup Contender Comes Stateside,” the rifle is a slightly tweaked, semi-automatic version of the HS Produkt VHS-2 that combined many of the best elements from existing bullpup designs into a single gun. “The rifle’s short overall length makes it handy when negotiating obstacles and barriers and helps speed up transitions between targets,” he stated. “The gun’s length overall is about the same as an 11.5″-barreled Colt Commando short-barreled rifle with its stock fully collapsed … and that extra 4.75″ in barrel length gets you about 13 percent more velocity and an additional 250 ft.-lbs. of muzzle energy from a 62-grain M855 bullet.”
On the range with the Springfield Armory Hellion, American Rifleman editor in chief Brian Sheetz mentioned “The bullpup area of the marketplace is a unique segment. The Hellion is an example of a design that is derived from a military rifle, so it has quality features throughout . . . “ Sheetz concluded his range session with the Hellion by saying, “All in all, the Hellion is a unique rifle in a sense of its military pedigree and it is a bullup, which is not something that everyone is looking for, but if you want a compact defensive carbine in a fully capable barrel length, the Hellion may just fill the bill.”
A fully ambidextrous design that doesn’t neuter the .223 Remington’s ballistic potential while keeping the overall length of the firearm under 30″—and providing one of the better bullpup triggers on the market—the Springfield Hellion is our choice for Tactical Product Of The Year.
For more information, visit springfield-armory.com.
About the Golden Bullseye Award:
The Golden Bullseye Awards were created two decades ago to recognize quality, innovation and value within the firearm industry, with the editors of the NRA Publications Division convening annually to nominate and select the standout performers from the previous year’s crop of new products. The discussions can get animated at times—as each year there are always more new guns, ammunition, optics and accessories worthy of accolade than we could possibly call out—but consensus eventually results in winners being selected, with the passionate back and forth serving as evidence of the firearm industry’s health and innovative spirit.
Article by AMERICAN RIFLEMAN STAFF